Our dedicated and talented respiratory therapists have a huge role in making sure our patients get the best care possible both in and out of the hospital setting. This week the hospital celebrated National Respiratory Care Week.
One particular area at Lurie Children’s that our respiratory therapists provide care and service to patients is the Pulmonary Diagnostic Lab. The lab – comprised of six respiratory therapists and four exercise physiologists – works closely with a variety of specialties including Pulmonary Medicine, the Heart Center, Hematology/Oncology/Neuro-Oncology/Stem Cell Transplantation, Rheumatology and Orthopaedic Surgery.
“We provide a variety of pulmonary diagnostic testing including measuring air flow in and out of the lungs and diffusion capacity which measures how long oxygen diffuses from the lungs to blood stream,” says Joanne Salazar, RRT-NPS, CPFT, Pulmonary Diagnostic Lab. “Our respiratory therapists also assist physicians with bronchoscopy as well as research for Pulmonary Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, Genetics and Rheumatology.”
The Pulmonary Diagnostic Lab respiratory therapists partner closely with the exercise physiologist on staff in the lab to provide pulmonary rehab to patients. “Our goal is to increase and monitor lung function,” says Shannon Yuhasz RRT-NPS, Pulmonary Diagnostic Specialist. For our cystic fibrosis (a progressive, genetic disease that causes chronic lung infections and affection lung function overtime) patient population, respiratory care is key to prevent a decline in lung function. Cystic fibrosis patients have significant respiratory needs. While our cystic fibrosis patients are inpatient, they visit the Pulmonary Diagnostic Lab once a day for 30 minutes to work closely with our exercise physiologists and respiratory therapists to ensure they are keeping decent functional lung capacity.
“We focus on each patient and their lung function and work closely with the entire care team to ensure our patients are able to have the best quality of life,” says Shannon.
The Pulmonary Diagnostic Lab provides testing for patients at all of our Outpatient Centers. Click here to learn more about the testing our lab provides.
Respiratory Therapists at Lurie Children’s
Our respiratory therapists are part of the care teams throughout Lurie Children’s. Patients often need their services in places like the NICU, Lefkofsky Family Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit (CCU), our asthma and immunology clinics, and the pulmonary medicine cystic fibrosis clinic, and the list goes on. Even outside the hospital, therapists play a vital role in home healthcare, and at times, they even lobby Congress on issues such as insurance coverage for ventilators.